The Tasting Panel magazine

March 2014

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Page 38 of 128

38 / the tasting panel / march 2014 A LONE STAR LIFE T here was a bunch of us writers in Lubbock a few years ago, checking out the High Plains vineyards and meeting up with some of the growers and winemakers. We were all standing around the barrel room at McPherson Cellars listening to Kim talk about the area and his operation when in strolled this sharply dressed gentleman, possessing both an enviable head of snowy white hair and a can of Coors Light. It was Kim's father, Doc, and he proceeded to ham it up with his son, tell some jokes, answer the questions we kept pestering him with, and pose for photographs. I think he relished every minute of the attention. I talked with Doc for a while longer that afternoon, and he gave me a history lesson on the state's modern wine industry. I mean, this was a real history lesson, because he was there when it was happening. He was living history. With his colleague and friend Bob Reed he established Llano Estacado winery back in 1976, but was making wine in the Texas Tech chemistry building's basement before that. They'd been growing grapes—140 varieties or so—since back in the late 1960s, right smack-dab in the middle of cotton country to boot. Doc told some mighty entertaining stories about those early years of moving Heaven and Earth and the Texas Legislature to get this state's post-Prohibition commercial wine industry out of first gear. I also liked hearing about making wine as a kid with his father at their home in Gainesville, picking wild fruits and aging the juice in ten- gallon Coca-Cola barrels. "We had them underneath the house. One time the creek got up and floated our barrels out from underneath the house, and they were going down the stream" he said while bobbing like a barrel in the water. "We went out and caught them and brought them back." He sure kept me laughing. He kept us all laughing that day in Lubbock. Doc McPherson (right), photographed in spring 2011, right after his son Kim (left) finished telling the infamous story of Doc, the Spanish grape- vines and a VW wheel. Doc: A Memory CLINTON "DOC" MCPHERSON (1918-2014) by Anthony Head / photo by Kirk Weddle

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